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Breaking the Chains of Command

Far from simply a question of foreign policy, the fight against militarism is a battle to undermine the basis of ruling-class power.

On August 16, 1819, British soldiers charged a crowd at St Peter’s Fields, Manchester, during a meeting called in support of political reform. (Spencer Arnold Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

One of the protagonists of Mike Leigh’s 2018 film Peterloo is Joseph, a discharged soldier who joins the fight for the vote in early nineteenth-century England. Returning from the Battle of Waterloo, Joseph, son to a family of cotton mill workers, continues to wear his bright red uniform on the streets of his native Manchester. […]

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